OVERVIEW: United States Artists provides unrestricted $50,000 grants to artists across eight different creative disciplines that include architecture & design, crafts, dance, media, music, theater & performance, traditional arts, writing, and visual arts.
IP TAKE: United States Artists’s giving significantly funds choreography, dancers, individual artists, and small collaboratives each year. However, this is a competitive grant for which grant seekers must be nominated, the nominators anonymous. The best strategy is to look through its list of previous selection panelists to get an idea of who might be connected to the process.
PROFILE: United States Artists (USA) was established in 2005 by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson, and Prudential Foundations to “invest in America’s finest artists and illuminate the value of artists to society.” Today the organization is funded by a range of foundations and individuals and has its own permanent endowment that allows its USA Fellows program to provide unrestricted grants of $50,000 each to as many as 50 creative artists each year across architecture & design, crafts, dance, media, music, theater & performance, traditional arts, writing, and visual arts.
USA does not have a dedicated dance program, so much as a large unrestricted grant opportunity available to a variety of creative fields. However, each creative field boasts its own team of panelists who oversee grantmaking and grantee support within a speciality. Application for a USA Fellowship is by nomination only; nominators change year-to-year and are always anonymous. All that USA will share about their nominators is that they are always a “group of arts leaders, critics, scholars, and artists who live in every state throughout the country, from small communities to major metropolises. They work in diverse practices across virtually every artistic discipline.” Applicants are accessed by a separate group of panelists who assess the applications of those who are nominated and apply; USA share the lists of its previous panelists, which is also diverse in geography, artistic discipline, and profession.
In order to get nominated by an anonymous group of arts professionals working across the United States, grant seekers should be inclusive in their craft and community. The more collaborative they are, and the more broadly grant seekers showcase their work around the country, the more likely they are to hit on one of these anonymous nominators.
Grants are for $50,000. In particular, the grantees' geographic diversity reflects that it is easier for visual artists to work anywhere than for theater or dance artists, for example. The range of past visual arts awardees also reflects this. A full list of past grantees is on USA’s website.
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